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Mains, Vegetarian

Black bean chili

Black bean chili
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

What is Margaret Fox, the most famous chef ever to cook in Mendocino County, doing working at a grocery store in Fort Bragg? Technically she's the culinary director, which she says means "basically anything having to do with cooking." But ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours | Serves 8
  • 4 cups dry black beans
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (1 [28-ounce] can) crushed whole tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped jalapeno chiles (2 large jalapenos)
  • 1/2 pound Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, grated
  • Sour cream
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 8 sprigs or 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Step 1Sort through the beans; discard the funky ones and any small pebbles. Rinse well. Place the beans in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by several inches. Cover and bring to a boil.

Step 2Reduce the heat and cook for about 1 3/4 hours, or until tender. Water should always cover the beans, so add more if the beans start to peek through. When the beans are cooked, strain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the reserved cooking water back to the beans.

Step 3Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Toast the cumin seeds and oregano in a small pan until the fragrance is toasty, about 10 minutes.

Step 4Saute the onions, bell peppers and garlic in the oil over medium-high heat with the toasted cumin seeds and herbs, cayenne pepper, paprika and salt until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chiles. Add this mixture to the beans and stir well. Add additional seasoning to taste.

Step 5To serve, place about one-quarter cup grated cheese in a warmed bowl, add a generous cup of beans, and dollop with a spoonful of sour cream. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon green onions and cilantro.

Note: From "Morning Food: Breakfasts, Brunches, and More for Savoring the Best Part of the Day" by Margaret S. Fox and John B. Bear.



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